Game Review: SteamUp

SteamUp was one of the first crowdfunding projects that we supported and we were excited to get our copy of the game in the mail.

The box looks great and the components were good quality.  You could tell that the company put a lot of effort into the design, and, since I followed the campaign, I could tell that they valued the feedback from their backers in Kickstarter.

First time setting up SteamUp.


The Zodiac with the fullest belly wins!

The goal is to gather the most victory points, which you get from “eating”.  Each player’s points are tallied on the community points board, and each player’s individual Zodiac character sheet tracks dim sum they’ve eaten too.  These give everyone a clear objective, which is always great!

Each animal in the Zodiac has different ways to get points and that will determine your strategy as well as their own special abilities.

Cally's results from our first time playing.

Playing SteamUp is easy to learn.

The game was easy to learn since the fate and fortune cards clearly tell you what to do, and the player cards lay out the skills of each character.

We played the game a few times, changing characters each time to test their different abilities.  The game remains competitive to the end.  It is possible to win without relying solely on luck, so your strategy matters.

The games are relatively short and can get quite fast paced.  You are always focusing on how to get the next dim sum you need in an efficient manner or with the most points.  It keeps you engaged in the game, even when it is not your turn.

There is just enough chance and unpredictability.  You can have a great strategy, but another player can be a spoiler, or they might just be trying for the same thing you are at the right moment!

Even though a certain level of strategy is necessary for the game, you don’t have to be a gamemaster to win and you can just play for fun.

The game is food oriented and motivates players to go out and get dumplings, or any Asian food.

The playing board full of dim sum.

The theme of the game is great!

You have to get your own chopsticks, most people have some around, or you can order Chinese food before playing!  Grabbing the dumplings and Phoenix claws with chopsticks and moving the steamers around really adds a nice element of interactivity to the game.

The board is a lazy Susan that holds six stacks of “bamboo” steamers with dim sum in them.  The way that the board rotates and how other players interact with it put constraints on your gameplay.  Learning what you can do each round is easy.

We got the Deluxe version, so our game came with the squishy dim sum pieces.  Totally worth it!  The art and mini stories within the game are all very well thought out and cute.

The mechanics of the game are unique and the dim sum restaurant setting provides a nice hook, even if you would never eat a Phoenix claw!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you played SteamUp yet?
  2. What kind of dim sum would you eat while playing?

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